US troop move to Middle East dangerous: Zarif

US troop move to Middle East dangerous: Zarif

DUBAI- Reuters
US troop move to Middle East dangerous: Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on May 25 that the U.S. decision to deploy more troops to the Middle East in response to the perceived threat from Iran was "extremely dangerous" for peace.

The United States said it was sending 1,500 troops to region in what it called an effort to bolster defenses against Tehran, and it accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards of direct responsibility for attacks on tankers this month.

"The Americans have made such allegations to justify their hostile policies and to raise tensions in the Persian Gulf," Zarif told state news agency IRNA.

"Increased U.S. presence in our region is extremely dangerous and it threatens international peace and security, and this should be addressed," he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump also invoked the threat from Iran to declare a national security-related emergency that would clear the sale of billions of dollars' worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries without congressional approval.

It follows decisions to speed up the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group as well as to send bombers and additional Patriot missiles to the Middle East.

Following U.S. media reports that Zarif had met Senator Dianne Feinstein during a U.S. visit last month, Iran's Foreign Ministry said informative talks were common and did not involve negotiations.

"For more than two decades, discussions have been held with non-governmental U.S. political elites, including members of Congress, to clarify and explain the policies of the Islamic Republic," ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.

Separately, a Revolutionary Guards commander said the security of the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil shipping route, was linked to Iran being able to export its oil, the semi-official news agency Fars reported.

Iran, Middle East, US troops, zarif